Girls Soccer: Blodgett gains respect for work in goal
Updated: June 29, 2012 8:38AM
When starting goalkeeper Riley Glenn suffered a knee injury April 24, Hinsdale Central soccer coach Michael Smith approached sophomore Jenna Blodgett about filling the vacancy.
“Jenna is a field player, but she’s a very selfless young lady,” Smith said. “She said ‘If you believe I can do it, then I’ll give it a try.’ She was nervous at first, but always had the confidence and has been a great stopgap. She really stepped up for us.”
Blodgett, who played goalie a number of years ago in club, allowed just six goals in eight games.
“It’s great having confidence in your No. 2 goalie because the competition for the position will be even better,” Smith said. “She will want to start next year and that only adds fuel to the fire.”
Blodgett wasn’t able to help the Red Devils end the regular season on a high note.
Hinsdale Central (6-12-2) lost to Wheaton Warrenville South 2-0 Saturday and Benet 2-1 May 10 at Benedictine University.
“Our struggle all year is putting the ball in the back of the net,” Smith said. “We create chances and just don’t capitalize. We’ve been more focused on that during training sessions. You have to have confidence in your ability. It’s been a challenge and frustrating to all of us. The scores have been close, but everyone looks at the scoreboard when you walk off the field and that adds a little anguish.”
Smith has liked the progress his team has demonstrated in his first season as the coach.
“We’ve been hitting the bench mark that I wanted to hit of solid play, understanding the system and really working together as a unit to become a stronger team,” Smith said. “It’s clear we’ve done that in how we attack offensively and defensively.
“We’re not playing any weak competition at all. Every team has had a strong record or is a strong program that has been successful for years. It’s good that we’re able to compete with them even though we’re a half step behind.”
Hinsdale Central did wrap up play in the West Suburban Conference Silver Division on a positive note, beating Glenbard West 1-0 in overtime May 8 at home to finish with a 3-3 conference record.
Freshman defender Erin Smith scored the goal in overtime to set off a wild celebration.
“Seeing the smiles on the girls’ faces, the laughter and seeing them pile on Erin after she scored the goal was great,” Smith said. “We wanted more of those moments this year.”
Glenn returned in the second half of Saturday’s game and will be the starter in the postseason.
Hinsdale Central had a rematch against Glenbard West Wednesday in the Class 3A Hinsdale Central Regional.
The Red Devils are seeded No. 8 in the Downers Grove South Sectional and would face No. 1 Lyons Township in the regional final Friday with a win over the ninth-seeded Hilltoppers.